June Annual QSHA picnic

Will be held this year at the Sabin’s Farm near Plainfield.  Directions will be sent out to members ahead of time. This will be a pot-luck lunch at 12 noon on Sunday 22nd June.  Some games – horseshoes, croquet etc will be on hand.  Bring mosquito repellant, sunscreen lotion etc.  No need to bring lawn chairs. BBQ is available if you wish to cook you own hamburgers, hotdogs etc.

Posted in Notices | Comments Off

May monthly meeting

The next meeting of the QHSA will be on May 25th. “What is Humanism? The Amsterdam Declaration.

Place: Room P22, Business and Admin building, Loyalist College, Wallbridge-Loyalist Rd, Belleville, Ontario

Time: 1.30-3.30 p.m.

Posted in Notices | Comments Off

Monthly meeting April

Sunday April 27, at 1:30 p.m.


Population Growth: Quinte, Canada, and the Globe? An open  discussion of perspective and options? Have we crossed the line to a “fortress” environment?


Loyalist College, Training and Development Center


Business and Administration Building, room P-22


Wallbridge-Loyalist Road, Belleville


All welcome, no charge to attend!


Posted in Notices | Comments Off

Next QSHA meeting is Sunday, March 23rd


Is “sustainable growth” an oxymoron? Is economic growth sustainable?
This is a group discussion with guest participants:
Mike Nickerson, Author of Life Money and Illusions with
Louise Livingstone from Harvest Hastings and representation from Hastings Stewardship
www.harvesthastings.ca and hastingsstewardship.ca

Loyalist college, Business and Administration Building ( Old Pioneer building) Room P22, 1.3o p.m Sunday 23rd March.

You do not have to be a member of the Quinte Secular Humanists to attend. Coffee provided.

Posted in Notices | Comments Off

Response received

We have received, February 13, 2014 an acknowledgment of our letter from the “Political Attache” in the Quebec Provincial legislature. Translation to follow.

Posted in Notices | Comments Off

February meeting

1.30 p.m. Sunday February 23rd

Discussion and debate regarding the

Quebec Charter of Values legislation.

Loyalist College, Training and Development Center

Pioneer Building room P-22

Wallbridge-Loyalist Road, Belleville

Proposed letter:

Quinte Secular Humanist Association

c/o 553 Hinch Road, Newburgh, Ontario, Canada. K0K 2S0

Bernard Drainville

Minister Responsible for Democratic Institutions and Active Citizenship

875, Grande Allée Est
5e étage, Bureau H5.725
Québec (Quebec) G1R 4Y8


RE: Quebec Charter of Values, January 2014

Cher, Dear M. Drainville:

The Quinte Secular Humanists Association reaffirms its belief in the separation of Church and State and supports the intent of Bill 60. Our Association has agreed the following statement be publicly broadcast as a clear and succinct position on some of the components of your legislation.


 Public bodies must, in the pursuit of their mission, remain neutral in religious matters and reflect the secular nature of the State. Accordingly, obligations are set out for personnel members of public bodies in the exercise of their functions, including a duty to remain neutral and exercise reserve in religious matters by, among other things, complying with the restriction on wearing religious objects that overtly indicate a religious affiliation.  


As well, personnel members of a public body must exercise their functions with their face uncovered, and persons to whom they provide services must also have their face uncovered when receiving such services.

As Secular Humanists our position on citizen rights extends to a neutrality that allows “humans to respect humans” without governmental prejudice.


Our Association further agrees that a letter stating this support should be sent to Bernard Drainville, Quebec Minister responsible for Democratic Institutions and Active Citizenship with a copy to Humanist Canada and other Provincial Humanist bodies in Canada.


Thank you for launching this “key note conversation” in Quebec and Canada’s evolution to a modern and inclusive society.





Representing the Quinte Secular Humanist Association

Eric Thomas



Posted in Notices | Comments Off

Message from our president, Eric Thomas

Hi all,
Simon Parcher has announced that I have been “unanimously appointed” to the “board” of Humanist Canada. I am to serve a term starting now and will stand for election in 2015.
As a representative from Ontario, I am also to “Chair” the Fund-Raising committee. Initial duties also include contributing to the “Google ad” campaign by developing catch phrases that will drive Internet searches to the National web site. Aphorisms anyone?
I consider this exciting news for my Humanist philosophy efforts! The hard work and efforts of QSHA are a contributing attribute that HC considered of my candidacy. And for this I sincerely thank each of you. Thanks.
So lots of stuff for QSHA to be proud of.
2014 will be a veritable evolution for us all!
Warm seasonal regards for all the QSHA families from here.animated_moving_image_snowmen_snowman Animated_Xmas_wreath_animation
President QSHA
HC Board
Posted in Notices | Comments Off

Winter solstice party

Druids Celebrate Winter Solstice At Stonehenge

To celebrate the winter solstice, QSHA members and guests will be having dinner at the Beaufort Pub (formerly the Winchester Arms) on Saturday (not Sunday!) the 14th December at 6 p.m. The Beaufort is located at 173 Dundas Street East, near the TSC store and Rexall Drug Store. It is an English style pub and is nice and cosy with a fireplace,  at this time of year.

If you wish to participate in the gift exchange, bring a wrapped gift costing under $10. We will play a game with them.

Posted in Notices | Comments Off

Quebec Charter

The Government of Quebec is going to put the Charte des valeurs québecoises (i.e. the laïcité bill) on the floor on Thursday. Courtesy of Michel Virard of Humanist Canada. Comments please.
Hold your breath: you should be warned beforehand that the Charter will draw an incredible amount of flack from most English Canada newspapers and even most French Quebec Newspapers, no less. Yet, despite massive propaganda against it, the Charter has the support of an overwhelming majority of the citizens of Quebec, and the Government knows it (we have been in contact with it).
For a time the Government was wavering and we were concerned that it would water-down its initial proposal to please too many nay-sayers or even withdraw it completely. That’s why we, at the AHQ, together with the MLQ and the CLQ, later joined by a section of the feminist movements (the Janettes), we have been building this incredible momentum behind the Chart. Our war machine, the Rassemblement pour la laïcité,  did work and is now more powerful than ever: we have now more than 50,000 supporters for our petition (and we have their e-mail addresses!!!) and still growing. This is most amazing since that, for about two months since mid-August, our adversaries (which included the main newspapers, and Radio-Canada) were pretty well certain they had killed even the idea of a Charter. No luck for them: not only the Charter didn’t die, it evolved toward a stricter model of laïcité.
Because, beside the comments from citizens and the polls done regularly by Bernard Drainville, the Minister in charge of the Charter, the government was also monitoring our web sites (they told us). I have the conviction that our Marche pour la Laïcité plus the unexpected late success of the on-line petition for the Charter made the decision of Drainville a lot easier: he knew he had the necessary backing and that, even with a minority government, he could expect to force at least one opposition party to go with him. Of course nothing is done yet, but it is a fantastic milestone that we are going to reach tomorrow: for the first time in Canada, a bill for the formal separation of Church and State is going to be discussed in a legislative body.
We live in interesting times, indeed.
Michel Virard
From the trench, in Montreal. 
Posted in Notices | Comments Off

Dying with dignity

Discussing the right to die with dignity

 Nate Smelle/Bancroft This Week/QMI Agency

 What is so morbid about talking about death and dying? We are all eventually going to die.

For the second time in October the Club 580 in Bancroft hosted a Gathering of Curious Minds on Saturday, Oct. 26 to discuss a subject often viewed as taboo. The topic on slate on this occasion was whether or not an individual facing a future of terminal illness, chronic pain and suffering ought to have the right to end his or her own life in a dignified manner.

“Different people have different opinions,” said co-organizer of the gathering Dagmar Gontard.

“Which brings us to the question of the respect of those opinions. Some people want to prolong life at all cost, while for others the question of the personal autonomy is more important than the length of life. In other words, the choice between the quantity and the quality.”

Gontard gave the example of the case of Margot Bentley from British Colombia who was diagnosed with dementia and is now in an advanced state of extreme disability. In 1991, Bentley indicated in her living will she was still of clear mind that she wanted no nourishment or liquids if there was not a reasonable expectation of her recovery from extreme physical or mental disability.

“She used to be a nurse, and saw patients who needed the help with every bodily function,” Gontard said.

“Margot did not see any quality in this kind of life. Margot’s decision was a rational one. Did she have the right to ask not to be fed nourishment or liquid if she ever developed an incurable medical condition? Do we have the right to decide about our body? I, and pro-choice people, will say: Yes. Whose body is it anyway? We’ve come a long way – we have the right to vote, we have the right to be equal,  the right to choose or refuse work, etc. We still are missing that last freedom, choosing rationally the time of our death.”

Gontard believes death is a natural part of life, and feels strongly people should have the right to end their life in a peaceful way, free of suffering if that is what they choose. This approach, she said, requires the patient communicate his or her wishes to his or her loved ones and caregivers as clearly as possible.

“Physicians are not magicians, they are human beings,” Gontard said.

“We need more communication between the patient and the family; between the patient and the doctor; and between the doctor and the medical support.  If everyone involved has a better understanding of what the patient needs and wants it can only help.”

Lightening the mood with his opening remark Allan Hammond from the organization Dying with Dignity, joked in regards to the unfolding Senate scandal in Ottawa.

“It looks like soon there will be the death of the senate,” said Hammond.

“I hope there will be dying with dignity although it doesn’t look too promising does it. I don’t think they have an advanced care directive either, so we are not in as much trouble as they are.”

The organization Dying with Dignity works with people who want to end their life in a peaceful and dignified manner that doesn’t conflict with existing law. To help ensure patients are able to do this Hammond recommends filling out an advanced care directive. This document provides people with the opportunity to state their medical priorities in the event that they cannot do so.

“The document asks a series of questions giving a person various circumstances in which a person may contemplate ending their own life,” Hammond said.

“Advanced dementia, Alzheimer’s, or any acute life-threatening illness of an irreversible nature are examples. Other examples are being hooked up to a respirator, or whether you want to be fed if you can no longer feed yourself.”

The document is not biased, said Hammond, as it gives individuals the option to demand care if that is their choice.

“Another option you can check off is: I desire that my life be prolonged and that I be provided all life-sustaining treatments applicable to my medical condition,” said Hammond.

Furthermore, Hammond said another thing individuals can do to assemble their own personal end-of-life plan is to designate a power of attorney for personal care who understands his or her wishes.

Co-owner of Camp Ponacka on Baptiste Lake, Anne Morawetz travelled to Bancroft with her husband to share her experience of being in this difficult  position, and having to honour her mother’s wish to die with dignity. Morawetz’s mother was a proud member of Dying with Dignity. Because she had openly discussed her wishes with her daughter and other members of the family it was clear what she needed to do after her mother suffered a stroke while at her home on Baptiste Lake.

“The medical staff said they wanted to put in an IV, and I certainly felt they wanted to keep her comfortable so that was fine,” said Morawetz.

“Later in the day they said she had too much fluid, so they asked if they should take it out and not put it back in. That was really the question saying if we don’t do that it will hasten her death. Knowing our mother’s wishes it was obvious to us that we had to say no.”

Since this experience Morawetz and her husband have both filled out advanced care directives, and made their daughter the power of attorney.

“We were so impressed with the care, the understanding and the lack of pressure from the medical support staff,” Morawetz said.

“I think people don’t realize how great a hospital they have here in Bancroft”

Posted in Notices | Comments Off